Trip Report – Part 1 – 2011 Summer Trip (AC and EK)
Welcome to the summer of 2011. After finishing my first year at university and the extra summer classes, I thought of going on a trip to India to meet my folks. I knew this was going to be a really short trip but I wanted a break and more importantly, I wanted to fly. I left Canada on 26th August and returned on the 5th of September. This trip consisted of seven legs in total, the first part will cover my trip to India (the first three legs). The second part will cover my domestic leg in India and my trip back to Canada (4 legs in total). Well, I’m done stalling here, so without further ado, I present to you the first part of my Summer trip (2011).
* Part 1 *
1st Leg – Air Canada YOW-YYZ
Seat: 29B Gate 13B
26 August 2011 (Departure Time 1725)
Airbus A319 C-FYJI
I did not sleep properly the night before as I was very excited to take my first break in over a year. I typically pack a few hours before I leave the house and this trip was no exception. I hate packing my bags beforehand because invariably, I have to open it in the last minute to pack some little thing in. At around 12:30PM, I call for a cab and head to the airport.
I reached the airport by 12:45PM. First, I head to the check-in counters, then cleared the security and proceeded to the assigned gate. Now, I was using a staff ticket for this flight which means that I could check-in and proceed to the gates but I would not get to travel unless there was an empty seat on the airplane. I was initially booked for an earlier flight (that would explain why I left at 12:30PM), but the aircraft was packed so they pushed me to the next flight, which also was full. I finally got a seat in the 1725 flight. During the looong wait, I managed to do a little bit of spotting.
It was a tensed wait until one of the ground staff announced my name and handed me my new boarding pass. The aircraft was an Airbus A319 (Reg: C-FYJI). As I reached the aircraft, I noticed a female flight attendant was greeting passengers and directing them to their seats. There was a little problem with one of the passengers and the line stalled. I was luckily right outside the cockpit, so I kept looking in. The first officer (I didn’t realize this) was apparently preparing himself a coffee at the galley, he saw my interest and invited me to the flight deck.
I tried to keep my impromptu visit to the flight deck brief, as the crew were busy preparing for our flight to Toronto. After a brief conversation about Airbus airplanes and details about my trip to India, I thanked the crew and walked to my seat. I was in the middle seat of the last row (13B). An old lady saw my enthusiasm and offered me her seat at the window, but I refused. I’m a frequent flier and it’s only fair I let others enjoy flying as well. Anyway, the middle seat didn’t stop me from taking pictures during the flight.
This was a short flight – in fact it was just a 45 min hop. There were no meal services (passengers could buy snacks on board if they wanted to), but there was a complementary drinks service. The drinks included tea, coffee, water and fruit juices along with a packet of mini pretzels. Soon, it was time to land in YYZ. The landing was a little bumpy thanks to the weather but nothing out of the ordinary. Once at the gate, I thanked the crew and exited the airplane. The good thing about flying Air Canada is that we dock at Terminal 1 in YYZ. This makes it easier to connect to my flight to DXB (with EK) as it’s in the same terminal.
Drama at YYZ
I then proceeded to the baggage carousel to collect my checked-in bag. Usually my checked-in baggage show up after a great deal of waiting, but this time my bag didn’t show up at all. I looked around and still no sign of it. I located the baggage services desk and joined the queue there. Interestingly, the counters were busy with passengers complaining about bags that hadn’t flown with them. I distinctly remember a woman, who was standing before me, was in full panic mode. She was yelling at the agent about how her bag hadn’t flown with her from Calgary and she was going to catch a connecting flight to Paris. I must admit I was rather shocked to see such a long queue at the baggage services counter. Soon enough it was my turn, I told the agent that I would be connecting to Dubai and onwards to India. He first asked me if I had checked around the carousel, I replied yes, he then asked me to wait for the next flight. I didn’t protest here because AC has a flight to/from Ottawa every hour. The next aircraft landed and my bag still didn’t show up. I was angry (fuming would be more accurate), frustrated and was on the brink of panic as EK would close their counters in an hour and I hadn’t check-in yet. So I head to the baggage services desk and the agent asks me for a description of my bag and my address in India. He assures me that my bag will be delivered to my address in a few days. With that I make a dash out of the arrivals hall and head to the other side of the terminal to check in.
2nd leg – Emirates YYZ-DXB
Seat: 77K Zone D
26 August 2011 (Departure time 2140)
Airbus A380-800 A6-EDC
I reach the check-in counters with 35-40mins to spare. There was no queue, so check-in was pretty quick. Having run from the other side of the terminal, I was still catching my breath. I checked-in for both my flights – YYZ – DXB and DXB – BLR. I got my boarding pass(es) and then proceeded through the security check and walked to the gates. By now the reality had set in and quite frankly I was not excited about this trip anymore. I find it ‘sacrilegious’ that I wasn’t excited before a flight but it happened, I just wished I could go home and start this trip over.
As with all EK flights, boarding was done Zone wise. Since, my seat (77K) was at the back of the airplane, my zone was one of the first zones invited to board.
I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. (Sorry about the quality!)
I was tired and I figured the best way to not think about the whole ‘baggage’ incident was to get some sleep. I dozed off after the dinner service and I woke up when we were flying over eastern Europe – just in time for breakfast.
Landing and Transit at DXB
We approached the U.A.E. from the Arabian Gulf, flew past DXB and then turned around to land on runway 30L. The landing was smooth and as always I enjoyed listening to the mechanical ‘whine’ the aircraft made when the flaps were set/unset.
To watch the video of the landing –> Click Here <– (Opens in a new tab)
Once at the gate, I thanked the crew and exited the aircraft. I then followed the signage to the transfer desks. I passed through the security check and a short walk later I was at the departures/gates area.
3rd leg – Emirates DXB-BLR
Seat: 11E Zone B
27 August 2011 (Departure time 2130)
The seat assigned to me at YYZ was a window seat in the Economy class. Whilst transiting in DXB, I met my mother who came in to see me off to BLR. I walked around the duty free stores and then had dinner at Burger King (Well, I love burgers!). After dinner, I made my way to the gate and took a seat in the waiting area.
When passengers were invited to board, I joined the queue. When I reached the front, the ground staff saw my boarding pass and told me that I was upgraded to Business Class. I didn’t get a window seat (11E), but hey, I get to fly business class.
The flight was routine and uneventful. I was exhausted after traveling for almost a full day and I was hungry again. I stayed up for the meal service, after which I went to sleep. One interesting thing I noticed was that the In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system on board, had a mini-version of ICE. Although the interface was similar to the full blown ICE, there was a smaller selection of movies and programs the passengers could choose from.
The meal served was dinner and the menu consisted of:
– Khasa Kachori
– Pepper Chicken
– Peas and Mushroom Curry
– Pan-fried sea bream and prawns
– From the bakery – A selection of freshly baked roti’s, Indian breads and pappads
– Semiya Payasam
– Passion fruit Cheesecake
– Cheese Selection
– Fresh Seasonal Fruit
I woke up when the flight attendants were distributing the customs form. During the descent, I was filling out the customs form when the passenger next to me saw that I lived in Ottawa, Canada. He was apparently a Canadian citizen (of Indian origin) who lived in Ottawa and was traveling to BLR on a business trip. We were talking for the remainder of the flight.
Once at the gate, I gathered my belongings and thanked the flight attendants on my way out. I passed through immigration fairly quickly and well… since I didn’t have any checked-in bags, I made my way out of the terminal. As usual, I caught a bus that took me to the old airport near where my relatives live.
* End of Part 1 *
Well despite a shaky start in Canada, I think the trip balanced itself out when I got upgraded (much to my surprise) to Business Class on my way to BLR. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I talk about my domestic flight between BLR-PNQ on Kingfisher Airlines, and my trip back to Canada. I will also follow up on what happened with my missing bag.
I hope you enjoyed Part 1, as usual comments (both constructive and destructive) are welcome.
Until my next post … Happy Landings!!!